The Origins of Great Marketing: Data or Creativity?

A few days ago, I spoke at the New Jersey Credit Union League’s Marketing Conference. My presentation was on Improving the Member Experience Across Digital Channels. Without getting into the details of the entire hour-long chat, I’ll give you the overview in a single word: data.


But wait. Let me explain.

Data, admittedly, isn’t warm and fuzzy. It doesn’t tug at heart strings or form an emotional connection like a creative marketing piece does. But data lets us identify our audience, the things they care about and their online and offline activities and preferences. By using those data points, we as marketers are able to develop those warm, fuzzy, emotionally connected messages.

Great marketing without data is the equivalent of creating a strong message and shouting it into the void.

Data without great marketing identifies the perfect audience for your message but then fails to deliver it in a way that truly connects with them.

This isn’t a chicken and the egg situation, this is a car and gasoline situation. Both elements are needed to make your message get where it needs to go. Data is the fuel that drives the creative marketing engine.

Take a look at your membership. What do you know about them? Age, credit score, email address, auto loan and mortgage status, the list is long. Those things can all be used for targeting your emails, as well as ads on Facebook, Google and Twitter to a specific audience, one who is most likely to act on the message you are sharing.

If a member got an auto loan from you three weeks ago and is still on your list to receive emails and ads regarding your new lower auto loan rates, not only are you wasting time and resources sending a message to a person who isn’t interested, you are risking frustrating and alienating that member.

Data is information and numbers and can feel like the polar opposite of creative marketing but it should be viewed as the foundation of your message.

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